Storm over Cardinal's Auschwitz comments

26th April 2005, Comments 0 comments

27 April 2005, BARCELONA-The Cardinal of Barcelona has sparked controversy by claiming officials who follow orders instead of their conscience over gay marriages 'will bring us to Auschwitz'.

27 April 2005

BARCELONA-The Cardinal of Barcelona has sparked controversy by claiming officials who follow orders instead of their conscience over gay marriages 'will bring us to Auschwitz'.

Cardinal Ricard Maria Carles said: "If this is a question of obdience to the law, rather than conscience, this will bring us to Auschwitz."

His was making reference to Germans who during the Second World War claimed they were 'only following orders' by taking part in the Holocaust.

The Spanish Roman Catholic Church has said council officials should give up their jobs rather than carry gay weddings which it strongly opposes.

The comments came after conservative Popular Party mayors in several of Spain's provincial capitals said they would refuse to perform gay marriage ceremonies.

A bill legalising such unions, which was passed by Spain's lower house of parliament last week, is expected to come into force this summer.

Later, after intervention from Mariano Rajoy, leader of the Popular Party, the same mayors said they would leave such ceremonies to council officials.

"Even if the law allows me to marry homosexuals, I will not exercise this authority," said Javier Leon de la Riva, mayor of Valladolid, according to a report by the Spanish daily 'La Razon'.

"I do not have a problem with these couples having the same rights as the rest of the citizens. But what does not seem right is that their union should be called a marriage," he added.

The newspaper also cited other mayors in such Spanish cities as Leon and Avila as having the same opinion.

The law making gay marriages legal still needs the approval of the Senate.

If passed by the upper house of parliament, Spain would become only the third European country — after the Netherlands and Belgium — to legalise such unions.

The proposed law requires judges and civil leaders such as mayors to perform marriage ceremonies for same-sex couples.

Spanish justice minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar said the law allowing gay marriage is a matter of civil rights and obligations, regulated by parliament.

Public officials cannot refuse to abide by the law, he said on Punto Radio, adding that it is a matter of conscience.

"Nor does it have anything to do with religion or with a sacrament," he said.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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